What would you do if you see an aggressor hit a participant of your church program?
During Mass last Sunday, a member of the Philadelphia Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, came to the front to read scriptures as part of the mass tradition.
She finished reading and left the podium. As she walked toward her pew, she saw an intimidating woman in the aisle and felt there was going to be trouble. As the victim passed by the woman, the woman struck her twice in the face with solid back-handed fist blows.
The audience and staff all froze. The attacker simply walked out of the church.
Police found and arrested the attacker; then were instructed to let her go without charges.
The parish priest later said he would have intervened had he been there, while defending those present who were not comfortable getting into such things.
Watch the incident here. Share it with your team and talk through it.
Segment 1 of 3: Captures the scene prior to the attack LINK: https://youtu.be/bwBZ4LcS8hA
Segment 2 of 3: The attack. LINK: https://youtu.be/IPfYzj1UVJY
Segment 3 of 3: After. LINK: https://youtu.be/iWWkPRZieik. I shared this segment for 2 reasons;
ONE: Is it best to continue the service as if nothing happened? Sometimes. In this case (with an injured parishioner) it seems disrespectful to the victim.
TWO: Notice the fire extinguisher ready with its green tag. Like most, this church was ready for fire.
The Philadelphia Archbishop says the attack was “unacceptable … especially within the confines of a church building and during the celebration of the Holy Mass.”
Who’d have thought it possible?
Think About it
You thought it possible. That’s why you do what you do.
As for people not feeling comfortable; victims certainly don’t feel comfortable, but they have no choice in the matter.
Talk about pre-positioning of security volunteers. While attacks can (and sometimes do) take place anywhere in the building, the area around the stage is a hot zone. While an outside presence is critical, it is unlikely an outside presence would have prevented this attack.
Even if nobody could have prevented it, one of the most miserable things a victim can feel is that realization nobody is coming to rescue them. This victim had only the view and memory of a congregation stunned in their seats.
Don’t let your friends and family experience that.